Simone Biles on Friday addressed those who believe she quit on her fellow U.S. women’s gymnastics during the team final at the Tokyo Olympics.
Biles withdrew from the Tuesday event after a subpar performance in Sunday’s first round. The other three team members (Biles noted that, by rule, she could not be replaced in the lineup) scored well enough to earn a silver medal. At first, it was thought Biles exited with a foot injury, but she said after the final that her “mental [was] not there.”
Her statement led people to respond that she was soft and selfish and just flat quit, among other criticisms. Biles responded to all of that in the Friday IG story.
The main reason for withdrawing, she said, was a case of the “twisties,” something she told reporters earlier in the week. When a gymnast gets twisties, there’s a mental block and the gymnast cannot properly execute twists in the air. That can lead to injuries.
“I didn’t have a bad performance and quit,” Biles wrote Friday in a Q&A with IG users. “I’ve had plenty of bad performances throughout my career and finished the competition. I simply got so lost my safety was at risk as well as a team medal.
“Therefore the girls stepped up and killed the rest of the competition & won silver. [Heart emoji] QUEENS!!!!”
She later wrote, “For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit. My mind & body are simply not in sync.” She then posted a clip of a bad dismount from the uneven bars in practice.
“I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health,” she wrote.
She said that this is not the first time she has experienced twisties, but they usually affect her on just the vault and floor exercise — “go figure, the scariest 2.”
“But this time it’s literally on every event, which sucks . . . really bad,” she wrote.
“It’s honestly petrifying doing a skill and but not having your mind & body in sync,” she wrote. “10/10 do not recommend.” She added a gymnast “literally cannot tell up from down” while in the air when going through twisties. “It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body.”
She said she wasn’t sure when these twisties would go away. Her previous episodes, she said, lasted two or more weeks.
Biles, 24, withdrew from Thursday’s all-around a day after bowing out of the team final. She qualified for the finals in four individual events. The first two finals are scheduled for Sunday.